The New York Times mentioned this blog yesterday and said: "Proof that homeschooling often works." (Hooray!)
I am convinced that homeschooling is about to go mainstream. The biggest evidence to me is that I'm doing it, and the New York Times is noticing. Because I don't want to do it. I want my kids in school so I can work all day, in peace, and make a lot of money so I can buy the stuff I want and then be a great mom after school. I was geared up for that and then looked at all the evidence and thought it was completely dishonest to ignore all the evidence and put my kid in school.
Also, mainstream media is starting to paint the picture of a school system so broken that it will not be fixed in our lifetime. But in addition to that, mainstream media is starting to ask the question when else, besides in school, can we learn?
And finally, I have argued in other posts that Generation X is the iconoclast generation, and we do not have trouble bucking the educational system and pulling their kids out of school. And, just like in the workplace, what Gen X sets in place, Gen Y puts in motion. Gen X are the risk takers and the ground-layers, and Gen Y are the ones who have the demographic force to instigate massive change.
So, as the homeschool movement goes mainstream, it will change in at least a few ways:
1. Catfights will be over.
Less than a week after I discovered Sandra Dodd, and heard that she's a leader in the unschooling movment, she commented on this blog in a way that I would expect at a school playground. Sandra has been unschooling for more than a decade, and writing about it for a big audience. So I can't believe she still feels like she has to defend her actions to naysayers. She should have bigger fish to fry. People who are leaders do not stoop down to the level of defensive in-fighting. It's totally uninspiring. The future of homeschooling (or unschooling, or whatever we are going to call it) will be created by people who inspire like it's their job, and put defensiveness aside, because it doesn't serve anyone.
2. Information will be professionally presented.
The difference between professional and unprofessional is respect for time. The work world measures things by time and productivity in a way that the childcare world does not. When you take care of kids, it's difficult, illogical and unpredictable, so there is often little point in thinking about getting to the next thing. Often, you just want the current thing to take as long as possible. Also, when people who take care of kids get together, they are excited to see other adults. They want that moment to last because they don't have adult connections during the time they are alone with kids.
A great example of this is the podcast people have recommended to me. So I listened. Sort of. I listened to ten minutes and there still was not the podcast. There was BS introduction, administrative, boringness that I didn't need to hear. And I shut the podcast before the promised interview even started.
The idea of productivity will change when homeschooling goes mainstream. There will be more respect for time, because a wider range of people will be reading and listening to homeschool material—not just people who are with kids all day long.
3. Mailing lists will have big value.
I joined a few mailing lists of moms (it's always moms, at least right now) who are homeschooling. I am shocked that even though the list is private, people post ads for non-members. Like, "Free Math Resources!" that link to some math supply startup trying to sell stuff.
Obviously, homeschool lists don't understand their value: They are a purchasing powerhouse.
A list of people who homeschool is a list of people who buy tons of stuff for their house and their kids. You can tell these lists are very valuable because mommy bloggers have so much clout among advertisers. So those homeschool mailing lists are going to become much more useful to members, and the members will start understanding their value in the marketplace.
And really, each of these three items is about homeschoolers moving away from the fringe and toward seeing themselves as valuable influencers of mainstream society.